Monday, November 30, 2020

Solar System Missions Update 2020-12

Here's my map of all active and future Solar System Missions as of December 1st 2020.

This Month will bring two sample returns back to Earth. The Chinese Chang'e 5 mission is currently in orbit around the Moon, the Lander presumably already separated from the orbiter, will touch down on the 1st, and collect samples in the next few days. After the ascend module delivers them back to the orbiter, it will depart back to earth and finally release the return capsule for a touch down, maybe on the 17th. All of that in December! The asteroid sample return mission Hayabusa 2 has already all the action behind it and is currently on approach for a return capsule touch down on the 6th. The spacecraft will go on an extended mission wit more flybys, as will problably the Chang'e 5 orbiter.

On the 26th Solar Orbiter will do its first Venus gravity assist flyby, on the 30th Juno will have its perijove #31, and the Mars flotilla of Perseverance, Al Amal and Tianwen is still en route to Mars. Jupiter and Saturn will be in conjunction around Christmas.

Data, images and documentation are available on my space exploration history GitHub repository and the associated website.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Milky Way Halo Update

A new version of the Milky Way halo page with some newly discovered streams based on the Gaia DR2 release, and a redesign of the colors palette for the stream members to better distinguish between them.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Solar System Missions Update 2020-11

Here's my map of all active and future Solar System Missions as of November 1st 2020.

On the 8th Juno will have its perijove number 30. The Chinese Chang'e 5 sample return mission will launch to the Moon this or next month.

The Mars flotilla of Perseverance, Al Amal and Tianwen is still en route, Mars is now beyond opposition and still pretty prominent in the evening sky, as are Jupiter and Saturn who will be in conjunction around Christmas.

Data, images and documentation are available on my space exploration history GitHub repository and the associated website.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Solar System Missions Update 2020-10

Here's my map of all active and future Solar System Missions as of Oktober 1st 2020.

The big date this month is the 20th, when OSIRIS REx will attempt to retreive a sample of asteroid Bennu. They call it TAGday after the sample instrument. Meanwhile Bepi Colombo has its first Venus gravity assist on the 15th. It carries an Infrared Spectrometer that may be able to detect the recently discovered biomarker phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus.

In light of the flotilla of Perseverance, Al Amal and Tianwen en route to Mars and all the Moon missions planned in the near futuret (see list) I did a redesign for the active missions at these places on the right, listed under the respective body in order of arrival. I think that already provides a much clearer overview than clustering them around the object, and will be even better the more crowded they'll be.

Data, images and documentation are available on my space exploration history GitHub repository and the associated website.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Space Observatories Update 2020-09

An update for the space observatories page, since I missed the TianQin-1 mission, a pathfinder for the Chinese gravitational wave mission TianQin-2, to launch in the 2030s, and translates as 'Heavenly Harp', no less.

The source data are available on my space exploration history GitHub repository, together with the included infographics.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Solar System Missions Update 2020-09

Here's my map of all active and future Solar System Missions as of September 1st 2020.

The Mars flotilla Perseverance, Al Amal and Tianwen is still en route to their arrival in February 2021, and that also means Mars is headed for an opposition in October.

Juno will perform its 29th perijove on the 16th, while the Parker Solar Probe has its 6th perihelion at 0.095 AU on the 27th.

Data, images and documentation are available on my space exploration history GitHub repository and the associated website.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Solar System Missions Update 2020-08

Here's my map of all active and future Solar System Missions as of August 1st 2020.

Go Perseverance! Go Al Amal! Go Tianwen! They're on their way now, and will arrive at Mars in February 2021.

OSIRIS-REx will rehearse the sample retrieval operation one last time on the 11th before opefully going for the real thing in October.

Data, images and documentation are available on my space exploration history GitHub repository and the associated website.